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Valley veteran waits months for prosthetic leg

Posted at 5:30 AM, Jun 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-01 08:33:22-04

A Valley veteran has been waiting months for a prosthetic leg.

Chris Bush, a Marine, called ABC15 after he said he was tired of waiting. His lower right leg, below the knee, was amputated in December 2018. As of June 1, Bush does not have a fitted prosthetic with a foot, which would allow him "much more freedom."

Bush enlisted in the Marine's in 1998.

"At the age of 23, I said 'I need to do something else with my life.' So I enlisted in the Marines," said Bush, who went on to become a sniper and do "multiple deployments."

The injuries, Bush says, started in sniper school.

"I rolled my ankle twice," he said.

An x-ray a year later revealed a fracture. That was just the beginning.

A few injuries and more than a decade later, in 2016, it reached a breaking point.

"They found two torn ligaments, two torn tendons, a fractured tibia, [and] a fractured fibula," he said.

Bush said he has now had 23 surgeries.

The most recent one, happening in December when the bottom part of his right leg and foot were amputated.

"I knew it was coming," he said.

Bush did not have that surgery done at the Veteran's Affairs Hospital in Phoenix.

"They sent me through what is called a Veteran's Choice Program, and that's where they send you to civilian doctors," he said.

Bush claims, after waiting two months for a prosthetic, he was told he needed to make an appointment at the amputee clinic.

"I had no idea that even existed," Bush said.

That appointment was mid-March.

“They said ‘Oh yeah it's gonna be a week, two weeks,” recalled Bush. “I figured I'd be up and walking by the beginning of April."

But he was not.

“I ran into brick walls. No phone calls, no nothing, no communication,” the veteran said.

He called ABC15 to see if we could help.

“If that's what I have to do to get the VA to respond to me, then that's what I have to do,” Bush said.

Hours after we inquired about the delay, the VA called Bush, who has recently been told he will get a new foot “in about a week to two weeks.”

His message to the VA is simple: “Keep veterans in the loop of their own healthcare.”

And when Bush thinks about walking in the future, he's “Really looking forward to it!”

A spokesperson with Veteran’s Affair told ABC15:
“The process for amputation and being fitted for a prosthesis can vary greatly based on the specific needs of each individual Veteran, including the length of time the Veteran needs to heal. Because of privacy concerns we can’t get into specifics, however, we reached out to the veteran and he’s been given the most up-to-date status as of today.”